Seven deadly spams

OK, so it was pure irony and I was having a laugh. My last post 'Twitter made my head explode' was just me letting off a little steam (the picture was a subtle clue). My head didn't really explode, and I don't really believe that overuse of the Internet leads to ADHD or autism, or that prolonged use of screen technologies might lead to diseases such as cerebral vascular accident (CVA or 'stroke') or the big 'C'. I was just having some fun at the expense of a few pompous scientific types who maybe should think more carefully before they commit their unsubstantiated ideas to press. But seriously, there are some potential dangers out there in the social network world. They are more social than physical though...

We have all heard about the employees who have lost their jobs for badmouthing their employers on their blogs. The case of the 'Petite Anglaise' - British worker Catherine Sanderson, who was sacked from her Paris job - is a classic one. She eventually won a court case against her former employers for wrongful dismissal. We don't often hear though, about those bright young things who have left university looking for high flying jobs, yet who cannot find good jobs. We don't hear how their potential employers trawl through Facebook and find images of them engaged in dubious or colourful activities. And then there's the thing we are all affected by: the spam that increasingly invades our e-mail accounts and social spaces. Patricia Wallace once said that the act of daily deleting spam is the psychological equivalent to 'weeding the garden.' It's annoying but necessary. Last month we all suffered a Twitter attack (keep taking the pills), where targeted users had their accounts hijacked, spam messages were sent out in their name, and others lost personal data.

Cloudmark is a company that services the social networking industry, policing its clients servers for spam. They recently released "the seven deadly sins of social networking spam." One of my favourite bloggers Robert X Cringely has expanded it a little in his own inimitable style. It's a real hoot, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

1) Dating spam. Sorry to break it to you, but "Sultry Svetlana," that 23-year-old hottie from the Ukraine who thinks you're fascinating, is really Ugly Ivan, a 46-year-old scammer from Minsk. Take a cold shower and forget about her.
2) Profile and IM lures. Suddenly, you're Mr. Popularity -- only your newfound friends want to lure you to a fake profile page or IM conversation, where they can steal your information. The moral: candy + strangers = bad news.
3) Redirection to dangerous sites. Uh oh, somebody has posted naughty pix of you at an external site -- better go look. No, you won't find naughty pix (at least, not of you), but you might get a drive-by malware infection.
4) Nigerian attacks. That same deposed foreign minister who wanted to share $35 million in embezzled funds with you on e-mail now wants to do it on Facebook. Let me know how that works out for you.
5) Fake jobs. A fantastic job opportunity awaits you. And if you're lucky, your new "employer" will only clean out your bank account and
not steal your identity and/or get you arrested along with it.
6) Competitor social network lure. Lesser social networks may try to steal you away by posting comments on your page pretending to be from your friends. Is that pathetic or what?
7) Religion-based spam. Have you accepted the
Alien King Rondelay as your one and true savior? Spammers may use social networking sites to convert users for various religions. God help us all.

Wow, who ever thought social networking could be so exciting?


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